Minds + Machines is to offer its back-end registry services to new top-level domain applicants for a flat $100,000 annual fee, the company has announced.
The deal represents a bit of a switch for the registry market, which typically charges on a per-domain, per-year basis and doesn’t talk about pricing.
The $100,000 offer will not be extended to potentially high-volume gTLDs, such as .music, or geographic strings such as .nyc, M+M said.
Customers deemed “disadvantaged or needy” will get a 50% discount.
It’s a pretty aggressive move by the company, which has been waiting for years for ICANN to approve the new gTLD program and needs to grab market and mindshare quickly.
M+M was recently compelled to partner with a larger rival, Neustar, to run the back ends for geo-TLDs supported by governmental entities nervous about using a relatively inexperienced player.
“Until now, pricing for registry services has been shrouded in secrecy, and potential applicants have had to try to decipher convoluted pricing tiers,” M+M CEO Antony Van Couvering said in a press release.
He’s not wrong.
The large incumbent registry players have not publicly disclosed pricing, but I gather it’s usually around a couple of dollars per domain per year, with some additional flat fees.
From up-and-coming registry operators, I’ve heard figures as low as $0.75 per domain per year. Competition for applicant customers is, I’m told, getting pretty fierce.
While the new M+M pricing structure is obviously simpler, it will appeal largely to applicants expecting to take a relatively low registration volume, but still high enough that $100,000 does not work out to a ludicrous per-domain fee.
A 25,000-name community registry, for example, would pay the equivalent of $4 per domain per year, which might not make a heck of a lot of sense if they can get an equivalent service for a buck a name elsewhere.
On the other hand, a company targeting a stable base of 250,000 names may lose money in the years it ramps up to that goal, but it will see its margins swell as its registration volume grows.
Still, the new gTLD program is all about innovation (right?) and this seems to be one of the first tangible examples, so it will be very interesting to see how well it plays in the market.